Thousands take to Chicago streets for rally against violence

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CHICAGO -- Once again, a Chicago community is standing up, saying stop the violence, stop the killings.

Thousands gathered on 79th Street in the Grand Crossing neighborhood, one of the areas that has seen the most violence in a year where the city has already had 1,200 shootings.

Pastor John Hannah, whose South Side New Life Covenant Church boasts 20,000 members, organized the massive rally against violence.

“Every time you pick up a gun, every time you take a life, you’re affecting all of us,” Hannah said.

Thousands formed a two-mile long prayer line from Greenwood Avenue to the Dan Ryan Expressway. At one point those who have lost family members all lay down in the street.

They stopped traffic with the message, “Stop the killing,” a sea of signs with the faces and names of the victims, met with a fiery challenge from father Michael Pfleger.

“We’ve got to look at ourselves and decide we are not going to allow shooting and killing to go on in our streets on our blocks while we live there while we walk there,” Pfleger said.

The event was attended by many churches and other faith based groups – they say the mark of whether this rally is a successful “wake up call” will be if the murders and shootings go down.